A Tasty and Fun Alternative for Chum Salmon
By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Published in November 2001
Chum salmon is known as an undesirable species when it comes to anglers' taste buds. Most people would definitely choose a coho salmon over a chum salmon on any given day. However, if you think about it, there are many other fish species around the world that are just as or even more undesirable, yet they are enjoyed by millions on the dining table. For example, sharks and rays have incredibly soft flesh and can rot with ease if not stored consumed right away after killed. Both groups of fish are enjoyed by many cultural groups in Asia, and they are on the top of the list at the fish & chips shops in both England and Australia. In Australia, dogfish, or gummy shark as the Aussie locals call it, is sold at fish & chips restaurant as "flakes". Their fillets are deep fried in batter, and their texture can be compared with other popular fish such as cod and trout. The problem is not the texture of the fish, but it's the cooking method that will either turn your taste buds on or off. Chum salmon are often released by anglers because most simply don't know what to do with it when it is put on the chopping board. Smoking is a common way but it is time consuming and most households don't have a smoker. Grilling or BBQing a chum salmon is definitely not an ideal way, even when the fish is heavily seasoned. One alternative that I have tried for many years, and still enjoy is deepfrying chum cutlets.
The method is derived from what I have picked up in Australia. Back when I was still down under, we deepfried all kinds of seafood. I have found that for fish that lack the sweetness and texture, deepfrying is a great alternative and can often give your taste buds a bit of a kick. It is a simple and quick way of preparing a small meal or simply a snack after a hard day of fishing.
Ingredients: Chum salmon (duh!), flour, egg, water, salt, pepper
Preparation of the fish cutlets takes up most of the time of the entire operation. You need to first fillet the fish into two large fillets. You will then skin each fillet with your knife. Once skinned, the fillet is then cut into cutlets. The size of the cutlets is personal preference. Personally, I prefer a fish finger style cutlet because it takes less time to cook and it is easy to just pick up and eat it.
The batter for the fish vary greatly, depending on what you prefer. My method is simple, an egg is added into a cup of flour and the mixture is then added with water until it turns into a thick cream. The water added should be icy cold, you can also use carbonated water or beer. Cold batter is needed so a puffing effect can be achieved when the fish is deepfried.
Once the cutlets and batter are prepared, it is time to fry the fish. Dip your cutlets into the batter completely and then place your fish into the prewarmed oil. Listen to the sizzle for several minutes before taking the golden crisped fish. Place the cooked fish on some paper towel to drain off the excess oil. To finish off, season it with salt and pepper or any other seasoning goodies that you would like to have with the fish!
Try it out! This maybe your next favorite snack. As mentioned earlier, your ingredients for batter and the size of your fish pieces can vary, it depends on what you prefer. You can even add spices into your fish before cooking.